St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr

Today, many people will be getting or giving candy and flowers and planning delicious meals (or going out to dinner) because of SAINT Valentine’s day. That’s right. Most people have taken off the “saint” part of St. Valentine’s day, and it has been hijacked as a “Hallmark holiday;” however, today is the feast of a priest who was martyred for his faith. Actually, it is believed that St. Valentine’s day commemorates several martyrs.

St Valentine

Image by David Teniers III (1600) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

We don’t know much about the St. Valentine that we celebrate today. We know that he was a priest in Rome who often gave comfort and support to those suffering persecution from Claudius II. He was arrested and sent to the emperor of Rome. Then, when he refused to renounce his faith, St. Valentine was beaten with clubs and beheaded on February 14, 270 (or thereabouts).

However, there are other speculations about Saint Valentine. According to Wikipedia, the origins of St. Valentine are not confirmed and that there may have been many saints martyred on February 14:

“Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several (14 in all [2]) martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name “Valentine”, derived from the word valens (worthy, strong, powerful), was popular in Late Antiquity.[3] Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14, he was born on April 16. It is even uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name. For this reason this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the Catholic calendar of saints for universal liturgical veneration as revised in 1969.[4] But “Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter and those with him at Rome” remains in the list of saints proposed for veneration by all Catholics.[5]”

Catholic Online gives us the origins of the celebration of “St. Valentine’s Day”

“Historian Jack Oruch has made the case that the traditions associated with “Valentine’s Day”, documented in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, had no such tradition before Chaucer.[18] He argues that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. In the French 14th-century manuscript illumination from a Vies des Saints (illustration above), Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni; there is no suggestion here yet that the bishop was a patron of lovers.[19]”

Interesting isn’t it?  I encourage you to read more about St. Valentine and St. Valentine’s day over at Catholic Online. You’ll notice that none of it has to do with the secular celebration of romance and candy and flowers. etc. (Not that I’m opposed to candy or flowers, or romance, of course!)

BUT, it does have everything to do with real agape love – love of neighbor and love of God, even to the point of martyrdom!


Tweetable: SAINT Valentine, Bishop & Martyr

See What Love the Father has…

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet, so we are.” 1 John 3:1

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only son, so that everyone that believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16

These scripture verses never cease to fill my heart with wonder and joy. This is what true love is, not that sappy Hallmark version we’ll be celebrating on Valentine’s Day (not that that’s not fun. πŸ™‚ ). However, true love is a choice, a sacrifice. It’s not an emotional high, but down and dirty in the reality of life, of struggles. The kind of love God has for us.

Doesn’t his kind of love make us want to respond in kind? Let us pray that God will will overflow our hearts with His love, so that our love for Him and our love for others will grow.

Act of Love

Oh my God, I love You above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because You are all good and deserving of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of You. I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

–Traditional prayer, author unknown

(Linked to Fearless Friday.)

Ten Ideas for Valentine’s Day Gifts

I’m not big on Valentine’s Day, but it is kind of nice to tell – and show – the ones you love, that you love them. :) What makes Valentine’s day special for me, is that it is the anniversary of the day I was baptized, so many years ago. I used to think that it was God’s special way of telling me He loved me! But, I digress…

Here’s a few Valentine’s Day gift suggestions to give your spouse to get your ideas flowing:

1. Get away. If you can swing it, (and can get a babysitter!) plan a short overnight get-away. It doesn’t have to be too far away or someplace fancy – even a night at a nice local hotel.

2. Write a love letter. I don’t know about you, but I love handwritten letters or notes. Especially in today’s world of emails and test messages, a handwritten letter is so personal, so special. So, why don’t you take a few minutes to write a letter, or poem or song or whatever to your spouse, telling him (or her, if a man is reading this!) how much you love him and the qualities that attract him to you?

3. Use your voice. Along the same vein as above, why don’t you record your voice to a CD or his mp3 player, telling him you love him?

4. Plan a special dinner. You don’t have to go out for a fancy dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day (although, you can if you want! πŸ˜‰ ). How about planning a romantic dinner of your spouse’s favorite foods and sharing it after the kids are down for the night?

5. Have a Mass said. Did you know that having masses said isn’t just for the deceased, however commendable. The mass is even more efficacious when offered for you while you are alive!  You might not be able to have the mass said on Valentine’s Day itself, but you can have the date set up and then let your spouse know in a card when the day is. Then, when the day comes, if you can, why not go to mass together?

6. Flowers from Aldi’s. Seriously. I’ve gotten flowers lots of times from Aldi’s, and not only are they much less expensive then most places; they are just as fresh and they last just as long, if not longer.

7. Personalized something. You can get just about anything personalized nowadays, such as t-shirts, sweat-shirts, aprons, mugs, etc. They make a fun, frugal and lasting gift.

8. Spiritual Bouquet. Valentine’s day is a great occasion for a spiritual bouquet; and you can note the mass you are having said included in the card. πŸ™‚

9. Have an adventure! Do something fun and do something that your spouse likes to do or always wanted to do, like take a class on something your spouse has always wanted to learn, or go to a sporting event of your spouse’s favorite team, or aquarium, or museum, or some other place that suits your fancy!

10. Time! With all of our busy schedules, time is a precious commodity. How special would it be if you tossed everything aside and just “be” with your spouse. Just not do anything but cuddle up together and chat or read or watch TV. Or nothing. πŸ™‚

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. What about you? Do you have a favorite gift idea to share? Let us know in the comments!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)